Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
IOS Apple

Apple Switches (Mostly) To OpenStreetMap 218

Posted by timothy
from the wonder-about-the-gracenote-problem dept.
beelsebob writes "In the recent release of iPhoto for iOS it appears that Apple has started using OpenStreetMap's data. Unfortunately, there are still some problems. Apple is currently not applying the necessary attribution to OSM; they are using an old (from April 2010) dump of the data; and they are not using the data in the U.S. Fingers crossed that Apple works through these issues quickly! Apple is now one of a growing list (including geocaching, and foursquare) to Switch2OSM."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Switches (Mostly) To OpenStreetMap

Comments Filter:
  • lol (Score:5, Funny)

    by masternerdguy (2468142) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:12AM (#39287931)
    Apple not properly crediting others for their inventions! No way!
    • Re:lol (Score:5, Funny)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:29AM (#39288211) Journal
      Bah. To have the honor of being a part of a glorious iProduct is all the recognition any puny NIH product could possibly desire, or conceivably deserve...
    • "it appears that Apple"

      "Appears" eh? I'll wait till we know for certain what maps they are using now before I worry about attribution. Apple have bought some mapping companies in recent years, on the face of it it seems more likely these maps are Apple's own.

      Certainly in the comparative viewers that OSM are linking to, it doesn't look to me any more like OSM than it looks like Google Maps. All three look different in presentation, but similar in content.. given that they are all modelling the same reality.

      W

      • by beelsebob (529313)

        Take a look at the comparison linked in the article. It's very clear that the data is identical to that found on OpenStreetMap in a lot of areas. The data is literally identical to the april 2010 planet dump.

        My guess for what has happened here is that Apple thought that they bought the data when they bought some mapping company; but that it turns out the company they bought just ripped the data out of OSM.

      • Re:lol (Score:5, Informative)

        by dair (210) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:22AM (#39289083)

        The map tiles are certainly Apple's own - they have defined their own stylesheet, with their own look.

        However the map data those tiles were rendered from appears to be a mix of TIGER in the US and OSM elsewhere. TIGER is a public domain dataset from the US Census Bureau, and OSM is CC-BY-SA.

        Looking at the shape of the data is often enough to tell you where it came from. One one level it's modelling the same reality, but in practice mappers tend to make slightly different versions of "the same" object (a road might be smoothly curved, or quite angular, depending on how much effort they went to). As such you can quite easily see when data comes from the same source, even if it's rendered in a different style.

        It's pretty conclusively OSM if you look at which small features [wordpress.com] (footpaths, lanes within a car park, etc) are rendered. This data isn't present in the commercial datasets you can licence from people like TomTom, however it is in OSM (neither Navteq nor TeleAtlas have footpaths, or this kind of micro-mapping of lanes within parking areas).

        Based on things like this, typos which appear on both maps, and roads that are in OSM now but aren't in Apple's tiles - it looks pretty clear that they used a snapshot of OSM, specifically one from early April 2010.

        • OK, that's the kind of evidence I didn't see before. Clearly it is OSM data. Let's see what Apple's explanation is in a few days time.

        • by NoMaster (142776)

          "It's pretty conclusively OSM if you look at which small features (footpaths, lanes within a car park, etc) are rendered. This data isn't present in the commercial datasets you can licence from people like TomTom, however it is in OSM (neither Navteq nor TeleAtlas have footpaths, or this kind of micro-mapping of lanes within parking areas)."

          However, that level of data is evident in some cases from commercial datasets. For example, the street directory in my car (which pre-dates OSM - I should really buy a n

  • Maps? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Azureflare (645778) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:15AM (#39287993)

    I didn't see any mention in the article about Apple switching to OSM in their maps app. If/when they do, I hope they implement a mechanism for submitting updates to OSM, since that is a big strength.

    I'm ambivalent about Apple making this change; google maps has done pretty well, but sometimes it gets numeric addresses wrong on long beach ny and other areas.

    One burning question: will we be able to get audible turn-by-turn directions if Apple moves to OSM?

    • One burning question: will we be able to get audible turn-by-turn directions if Apple moves to OSM?

      You can bet that if they do offer turn-by-turn directions then it'll only be available in the iPhone 5 when it gets released. Just to force everyone to upgrade again - the same way that Siri is technically capable of working on the iPhone 3/4 but is only available on the 4s.

      • by BorgDrone (64343)

        the same way that Siri is technically capable of working on the iPhone 3/4 but is only available on the 4s.

        The 4S contains better hardware for isolating voices and suppressing background noise at a distance, this is supposedly needed to make the Siri UX good enough for Apple's standards.

        • this is supposedly needed to make the Siri UX good enough for Apple's standards.

          As long as Apple have an excuse they'll use it to try and persuade people to upgrade. Siri would have worked on the iPhone 4. Yes, it would have worked better on the 4S but I'd be astonished if the reason it was not on the 3G/3GS/4S was technical and not marketing.

          • Re:Maps? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by samkass (174571) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:49AM (#39288543) Homepage Journal

            this is supposedly needed to make the Siri UX good enough for Apple's standards.

            As long as Apple have an excuse they'll use it to try and persuade people to upgrade. Siri would have worked on the iPhone 4. Yes, it would have worked better on the 4S but I'd be astonished if the reason it was not on the 3G/3GS/4S was technical and not marketing.

            Really? It would honestly astonish you that Siri would require any development, testing, QA, integration, sales, administrative, or other costs? It would be completely free? Or do you not consider paying for engineering talent a "technical" cost? Because otherwise, it makes a lot of sense for Apple to invest money on their profitable products instead of their old ones. Apple already does so much better than Android, Windows Mobile, and others at supporting old hardware with the latest releases that I see little room for complaint. The iPhone 3GS is many years old and yet got iOS 5.1 the day it was released!

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              You seem to have proved his point for him there - that the newer and better features are only on the newer models because it's a business decision (and quite justifiable to boot) to not spend the money supporting the older models rather than a technical limitation of the old hardware.

            • by Albanach (527650)

              Really? It would honestly astonish you that Siri would require any development, testing, QA, integration, sales, administrative, or other costs? It would be completely free? Or do you not consider paying for engineering talent a "technical" cost?

              You're absolutely right. It's a shame no-one at Apple has been able to come up with a way of letting users of their mobile operating system purchase individual programs to provide new functionality. Someone should come up with some sort of online shop where these pr

    • Re:Maps? (Score:5, Informative)

      by beelsebob (529313) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:41AM (#39288417)

      I'm in the process of implementing an editor and viewer for iOS called OpenStreetPad [slashdot.org], if you love the idea, feel free to contribute!

    • Re:Maps? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by beej (82035) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @03:51PM (#39293203) Homepage Journal

      I won't speak of the "audible" part, since that's just a small matter of programming.

      Turn by turn is... complicated. Of course, you can upload OSM maps on your Garmin right now and get turn by turn instructions. However, accuracy is a factor.

      The amount of information needed to drive through a city is absolutely astounding, as is the frequency with which it changes. For example, a street near my house is closed mornings and evenings to vehicle traffic, except weekends and holidays and June through August. That data has to be in there to accurately route. "No left turn, 4-6 PM Monday through Friday." "No northbound traffic except bicycles." "Carpools only 7 AM to 10 AM"--God help us.

      Not to mention just plain errors in the data. Near my house, an overpass was accidentally connected to the freeway. My Garmin with OSM data wanted to route me off the freeway directly onto the overpass. (I fixed the error.)

      Realignments don't happen that often in cities any more in the US, but they happen on country roads and interstates *all the time*. I didn't realize until I started contributing to OSM exactly how much construction was always happening.

      Highway 36 west of Red Bluff, CA, was recently realigned. Google even has it wrong for now: http://g.co/maps/mhdkm [g.co] . And check this out: Google wants me to drive on a hiking trail: http://g.co/maps/jpxr8 [g.co] I'm not saying they suck--Google's map quality is *exceptional*, and yet it errs. But I'd say that for turn-by-turn, it has OSM currently beat.

      I guess what I'm saying is... uh, contribute to OSM. :-)

  • Cool, but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fnkmaster (89084) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:17AM (#39288021)

    OpenStreetMaps has generally good map data at this point, but their reverse geocoding (i.e. place data) is still very sparse compared to Google or Factual, etc. Would love to see a free, open database of comparable quality to the paid ones.

  • by Xphile101361 (1017774) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:20AM (#39288079)
    Having 60+ GB files of "open data" being shared seems like a perfect reason to use torrents. Anyone know a reason (technical or legal) for why they aren't?
  • by oldmac31310 (1845668) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:31AM (#39288235) Homepage
    Took me a while to figure out 'U.S. Fingers crossed'.
    • by beelsebob (529313)

      Annoyingly, in my original submission, it read "USA. Fingers crossed". The slashdot editors broke my grammar.

  • by agentgonzo (1026204) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:31AM (#39288239)
    Whilst OSM is very good for free data, there are still pockets of areas where the coverage is very poor indeed. I had to map out half of my uncle's town as it just wasn't there on OSM (about 9 months ago). At every stage, it's getting better, but the more 'big players' that start to switch to it, the more momentum it will get and the better the coverage will be as more contributors flow in.

    This is especially the case as parts of the OSM dataset are about to be wiped out due to the forthcoming remapping [openstreetmap.org].
  • Silly headline (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:38AM (#39288357)

    They are using OpenStreetMap in one iOS photo editing application that costs $5. I would hardly call that "mostly switching." More like the first toe in the water.

  • It is pretty sad that their dump is from 2010 because streets in my part of town that have been there since 2001 are not on the map. I say use Google. At least it is always up to date.

    • In practice, OpenStreetMap is more up to date than Google for areas where locals know how to update it. That includes quite a lot of Europe (particularly Germany and England) and most metropolitan areas in the US. As more people learn about OpenStreetMap and begin using products that include OpenStreetMap data, that pool of up-to-date areas will grow. Basically, right now, there are areas where Google is better and areas where OpenStreetMap is better. (But where OSM is good, it's generally *very* good.)
    • Google is up-to-date, but in some cases it's completely wrong. They've recently changed from buying in map data from one source to amalgamating it from many many sources. This provides a headache for google as they can't manually fix things that are wrong as the fixes will be overwritten by the automated amalgamation in a week's time or so.

      Take for example Normansland [g.co]. There is no place in the New Forest called Normansland. There is one up the road called Nomansland (without the 'r') but for some reason Goo

    • by shish (588640)

      I say use Google. At least it is always up to date.

      True, current google is more up to date than a 2010 OSM dump. But current OSM is more up to date than a 2010 google dump. Not sure how that makes either better than the other...

  • How is OpenStreetMap determining that Apple's using their data versus a similar data set from a different source? I haven't seen anything about their methodology for coming to the conclusion that it's OpenStreetMap data. How easy is it to pin down map data to a specific provider?
    • Re:Are they sure? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Phil Gregory (1042) <phil_g+slashdot@pobox.com> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:19AM (#39289035) Homepage
      There's a lot of data that's only in OpenStreetMap, as compared to the other big map data providers like Navteq. In addition to roads, OpenStreetMap has bicycle paths, pedestrian paths, hiking trails, and a host of other things that are not generally collected in other general-purpose road databases. At least one person on the OSM mailing lists has pointed to an area where he added some but not all of the hiking trails in an area and Apple is showing only the trails he added to OpenStreetMap. Even more conclusive, though, is that when you overlay the two on each other, such as at http://ivan.sanchezortega.es/leaflet-apple.php [sanchezortega.es] , there are quite a lot of places where the data matches exactly--not just "both have a road here", but "every point making up Apple's road lies exactly on top of a point making up OpenStreetMap's road".
  • by trptrp (2041816) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:22AM (#39289085)
    Every time I see a map rendered with different colors and a different style as Google Maps I immediately feel how much I prefer the Google Maps style. Is it only me or is the rendering really that refined that it's just so much easier to spot things and therefore feels better?
  • When will Apple sue OSM for using their data??

  • "Apple Steals from OpenStreetMap"

It's a poor workman who blames his tools.

Working...